Fountain police start new program to make sure everyone gets home safely

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (KKTV) - A new program in Fountain is making sure family members, caretakers and police officers are prepared in case a person with a cognitive impairment ever goes missing.

The program is called “Home Safe.” Family members can fill out a packet of information with important details about their loved ones. For example, how they communicate, where they tend to wander and the best way for officers to approach them.

“When they go missing, when they leave the home, it’s a very scary thing for families, and it just gives our officers an idea of what they are going into,” said Lisa Schneider, Fountain’s public safety information officer. “Maybe where they can try to start looking for this person. It also gives them ideas on what the triggers may be.”

Teresa Wright said she plans to sign up two of her sons who have autism and are nonverbal.

“I think this program is beneficial to anyone who has a loved one who potentially can’t respond in a situation or could wander away from home and be in danger,” she said.

Wright said this program could have helped her family in the past. She said her boys have wandered away from home before, and she’s called police to help find them.

“It is terrifying,” Wright said. “You can’t think straight. You are just focused on, ‘How do I find my child? How do I get them safe?’”

In one instance, Wright said it took her 45 minutes to find her son.

“[It] seems like forever when you’re trying to find your loved one,” she said.

Schneider said people can fill out the packets online, or they can pick up a hard copy at the Fountain Police Department, any school in Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 or the Fountain Valley Senior Center.

“So over the past three years, we could have benefited from this probably over a dozen times,” Schneider said. “And really in our mind, even if we use it once in five years, that’s a huge benefit for us and for the families.”